Mercedes-Benz's flagship S-Class sedan was redesigned for the 2007 model year and emerged as a larger car with a raft of safety features. The S-Class shares luxury-sedan real estate with competitors like the Audi A8, BMW 7 Series and Bentley Continental Flying Spur.
New for 2010
The big news is the S400 Hybrid, Mercedes' first hybrid sedan and the first mass-produced car with a lithium-ion battery pack. The S400 is a "mild hybrid" with start-stop technology that shuts the engine off at stops, recharges the battery with regenerative braking and provides a small power boost for passing. The S400 has an EPA-estimated gas mileage of 19/26 mpg city/highway. In comparison, the V-8-powered S550 rates 15/23 mpg. The S-Class also receives a mild restyling and refinements to existing safety and convenience features.
Styling changes include a new grille, bumper, active bi-xenon headlights, LED taillights and larger side mirrors.
- S550 gets new 18-inch wheels
- S600 gets new 19-inch wheels
- LED daytime running lights for all but S400
Chrome and wood accents adorn the inside of the S-Class, which has room for up to five people. As opposed to a console-located gearshift, the driver selects Park, Drive and Reverse via a stalk on the right side of the steering column. Drivers who wish to manually control the automatic transmission can use shift paddles on the steering wheel.
- Comand system with 6.5-inch dash screen and center console control knob
- Optional massaging front seats
- Massive backseat
- Optional infrared night vision system projects black-and-white video image on instrument cluster display
- Optional lane departure warning system and driver drowsiness monitor
Under the Hood
In addition to the hybrid V-6, available engines include two V-8s and two V-12s, all of which team with automatic transmissions.
The S400 hybrid's lithium-ion battery pack is so compact that it fits under the hood and replaces the typical lead-acid battery. That means no loss of cargo or passenger space in the S400.
- S400 has a 3.5-liter V-6 and a seven-speed automatic with a total system output of 295 horsepower
- S550 features a 382-hp, 5.5-liter V-8 and drives a seven-speed automatic
- Rear-wheel drive is standard on S550, and 4Matic all-wheel drive is optional
- S600 powered by a 510-hp, twin-turbo 5.5-liter V-12 and features a five-speed automatic
- S63 AMG has a 6.2-liter V-8 that makes 518 hp and works with a seven-speed automatic
- S65 AMG uses a 604-hp, twin-turbo 6.0-liter V-12 and a five-speed automatic
- All models get an advanced tire pressure monitoring system
Available safety features include Mercedes-Benz's Pre-Safe system, which can tighten the front seat belts, close the sunroof and side windows, and adjust passenger seats for optimal safety when a collision is unavoidable. The S-Class can also get Distronic Plus adaptive cruise control and Pre-Safe Brake. Pre-Safe Brake works in conjunction with Distronic Plus radar signals and can slow the car automatically to lessen the severity of a collision. All S-Class models except the S400 include as standard "Attention Assist" that Mercedes says can alert the driver when he's drowsy and should take a rest. Standard safety equipment includes:
- Antilock brakes
- Front and rear side-impact airbags
- Side curtain airbags
- Active front head restraints
- Electronic stability system
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